Supreme Novices Hurdle Ante-Post Odds: More Mullins success
The Supreme Novices’ Hurdle is already shaping up as one of the races of the Festival, with four star names dominating the betting. Joe Tuffin takes an ante-post look at the race and picks his best bet…
The Supreme Novices’ Hurdle has the makings of a race to savor at this stage with some electric horses cropping up in the Novices’ Hurdle division. The market leader at this stage is one just horse, Constitution Hill - a fantastic winner of the Tolworth Hurdle. He’s one of two live chances for Nicky Henderson who also sends Jonbon, the full brother of one time Supreme winner Douvan.
Henderson has won this race on four occasions prior and it has to be said, you’d be brave to bet against him making it five in the Cheltenham Festival opener. Constitution Hill had the National Hunt world talking after a more than impressive debut at Sandown, before then backing that up with an equally as dominant performance at Grade 1 level in the Tolworth. There are questions over whether or not he’s beaten anything in these races, but he can only beat what’s in front of him and he’s hardly lifted a finger in doing that. He looks a seriously impressive horse and Henderson knows how to win the Supreme with a well fancied sort, so he ticks plenty of boxes. If you’re betting against him - just do so knowing that he could be a really good thing!
So what of Jonbon? There was chatter a plenty about him before he even saw a course due to his relations to the aforementioned Douvan, and up until recently there wasn’t much to be said against him, impressive in both bumpers and hurdles including two Grade 2 wins. Last time out was a worry though, he was 2/5 to win the Supreme trial and while he did, giving away 7lb to the field in the process, he really had to work for it and there was the suspicion at one stage he could have even been beaten. He was of course up against it giving weight away but if he was to really be in that world class bracket he should have made light work of this. Some bookies pushed him out to 4/1 from 7/2 following this run, and I can see why. The immediate reaction after the race was that, although he looks class, he may not be world class, so is best left at the price.
Can the same be said for Dysart Dynamo? A relative newbie on the Supreme market scene, this challenger represents the formidable Willie Mullins - a man who knows a thing or two about winning this race. The most successful trainer in the race's history doesn’t send any half chance here, and Dysart Dynamo showed plenty last time out to suggest he could well put his name on the trophy. The well fancied odds-on favourite for the Grade 2 Moscow Flyer Novice Hurdle at Punchestown lived up to expectations when dancing to victory by 19 easy-as-you-like lengths, and immediately went right to the top of the market. I’ll be honest, I’ve tried really hard to get him beat here, but I just can’t. The problem is, anyone who knows racing knows you’d be foolish to ignore a Mullins Supreme hot shot. Whenever a short-priced Mullins runner turns up in the Supreme you know he’ll run with a huge amount of credit, and I don't see this being any different. Some of Mullins’ last winners of the Moscow Flyer Hurdle by the way? Vautour, 2014 - won the Supreme. Douvan, 2015 - won the Supreme. Min, 2016 - second in the Supreme. Infact Getabird in 2018 was the only one to seriously disappoint, finishing 11th in the Supreme after Moscow Flyer success. I want to find an each-way pick badly, but with so many horses at double-figure prices holding multiple entries, and Dysart Dynamo nailed on to be the Mullins number one in the race, he simply can’t be ignored.
The last of the ‘big four’ is last year’s Champion Bumper winner Sir Gerhard, who made a more than impressive start to his hurdles career over the Festive period with an eight-length success at Leopardstown. For all he looks like he could well succeed here, it would be unlikely for Mullins to send two shorties to the Supreme and leave himself weaker in the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle - and with Sir Gerhard’s price of 4/1 for the Ballymore you can presume he’s headed there so tread with caution. Though no one can predict the Mullins entry roulette!
From there, the field is wide open. We go from Sir Gerhard at 6/1 all the way to 16/1 the field, with The Might Potter heading proceedings for Gordon Elliott. He’s a recent Grade 1 winner, beating Three Stripe Life in the Future Champions Novice Hurdle, but as good as it is it doesn’t really measure up to the front four in the market, and he’s the same price for the Ballymore at this stage so you really can’t be certain on his target. The same can be said for Fil Dor who represents the same connections but is best left at 18/1 as he is almost certainly Triumph Hurdle bound.
El Fabiolo is another for Mullins, representing the double-green of Simon Munir and Isaac Souede. A very unexposed sort with only one run for the master trainer, he certainly adds intrigue to the equation. A very easy winner as the 2/7 favourite at Tranmore, he looks like he could be anything - and you can expect a change in his price should he run with credit at the upcoming Dublin Racing Festival. There’s not enough form behind him to say you should really be siding with him, but he could be very exciting and Mullins is no stranger to bringing on a French import.